Lauper previews her 11th album 'Detour.'
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

After the success of 2010’s comeback album Memphis Blues — not to mention her work on the Broadway musical Kinky Boots — pop icon Cyndi Lauper, 62, decamped to Nashville for her 11th album. Detour is a companion piece to Memphis Blues, Lauper says, but where its predecessor homaged blues musicians, the new album focuses on classic country songs of the ’50s and ’60s. Memphis Blues featured contributions from such luminaries as B.B. King and Allen Toussaint, and Lauper once again teamed up with top-level talent for Detour, including Willie Nelson.

“I tried to be professional, but you know when you’re overwhelmed — when he came in, I almost cried,” Lauper says of her first meeting with the legendary songwriter.

Another big influence on Detour was Dolly Parton. Parton doesn’t appear on the record herself, but her spirit looms large, and Lauper covered her song “Hard Candy Christmas” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

“The first hotel we stayed at in Nashville had a big art piece on the wall, and in the corner it said ‘What Would Dolly Do?'” Lauper says. “I kept thinking that all the way through. I decided she would definitely do one of her songs.”